Monday, November 21, 2011

40 Days: Day 1

Taking Your Concerns To A New Level

 Nehemiah 1:4 “And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.”

Nehemiah was concerned that the Lord’s Name was not being esteemed as it should have been because his city, Jerusalem, was in ruins. The people who had returned had no way to defend themselves (Neh. 1:3) As a result, Nehemiah desired to undertake the formidable task of re-establishing civil authority in Jerusalem. Nehemiah carried a deep burden for the deplorable condition of his nation that more than once brought him to tears. In his own words he “mourned for days.” He “fasted and prayed” before the God of heaven.

I bring up this brief story of Nehemiah’s intercession for his nation because there are many of us today who carry a heavy spiritual weight of one kind or another much like Nehemiah did. Many of God’s people feel that they are under constant enemy bombardment—some are seeking assurance regarding the Lord’s thoughts about a major decision in their lives. If you have an intense desire for the Lord to show Himself sufficient in terms of meeting a pressing need, or if you have ever wondered whether there was some special way you could get God’s attention when everything else failed, then why not consider fasting?

Fasting is a means of saying, “God, I want you to know I have strong feelings about this matter.” Quite often, fasting is revealed in the Bible as a means of resolving otherwise extremely difficult cases. Didn’t Jesus Himself imply as much when His disciples questioned him as to why they couldn’t heal the boy who, when having fits, often threw himself into the fire?

I believe that our nation and its churches need a great spiritual awakening! America and our churches must humble ourselves by falling on our knees in prayer and fasting.

Why not read the 13 chapters of Nehemiah this week? But do it in the context of asking yourself whether or not we, too, need such a revival. I believe that now is a time when God Himself is challenging many of us to take our faith to a new level. Fasting and praying is one of the challenges God is now asking of us. People with extreme burdens should consider fasting. It could work miracles in your lives and if not, what a joy to know that together we went to the limits that praying affords.

- Pastor Virgil Amundson